Weird News: The Wolf Files

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As Hollywood legend recalls it, the 124 little people who played the Munchkins had been fighting the perception that they ran amok during the filming of The Wizard of Oz, partaking in wild sex orgies and trashing their hotel.

Judy Garland didn’t help matters in the mid-1950s when talk show host Jack Paar asked whether the Munchkins were little kids and she explained, “They were little drunks … they all got smashed every night.”

Working for Sub-Canine Wages

For years, dwarfs fought those accounts. Munchkin Jerry Maren, who portrayed a member of The Lollypop Guild, said: “It’s all a bunch of B.S. People see dwarfs and midgets and they get carried away with their stories to make them funny.”

In The Munchkins of Oz, author Stephen Cox writes that Oz producer Mervyn LeRoy said of the Munchkins, “They had sex orgies in the hotel, and we had to have police on just about every floor.”

Such shenanigans as dwarfs swinging from chandeliers were featured in Chevy Chase’s 1981 flop Under the Rainbow, which was loosely based on events at the Culver City Hotel, where the Munchkins resided. Barty took some heat from other little people for appearing in the flick.

“We couldn’t do stuff like that,” says Maren. “They were working us dawn till dusk, and we really weren’t pulling in enough money for hard-core partying.”

Just to show you the Wizard of Oz pecking order, Ray Bolger, who played the Scarecrow, pulled down a cool $5,000 a week. Garland made $500 a week. The Munchkins each took home $50 a week. And Toto the dog made $125 a week.

“That’s a lot of dog biscuits. Toto must have had a good agent,” Maren jokes. “That mutt should have been working for scraps.”

Some Munchkins complained that Hollywood treated them no better than animal acts. Show business impresario Leo “Papa” Singer acted as agent for most of the Munchkins and took a whopping 50 percent commission.